Last week I sat in a group answering the request to list 5 things we were thankful for. It took us each some thinking, not because we weren’t thankful for 5 things, but because none of us wanted any of our 5 things to sound too small or superficial or materialistic. But whatever, I went for it. I said, “I know this sounds really superficial, but I’m actually incredibly thankful right now for all my clothes…and I’m REALLY thankful for chocolate ice cream.”
The other 3 girls kind of laughed–out of courtesy or awkwardness, I don’t know–and one of my friends hit me and said, “Oh-my-GOSH, Audrey” in a way that sounded like she really meant, “Yeah, that really IS insignificant, superficial, and materialistic.”
I wondered, though, why it was “wrong” for me to say I was thankful for such small things? I personally find it rather difficult to be thankful for small things, and I actually don’t think most of us tend to be thankful enough for them. So, I felt the need to defend myself (especially because I got hit for it!) and explain that I actually have a deep gratitude for many of the “insignificant” things in life. That week I had been standing at my closet everyday marveling at how fortunate I was and how I didn’t really deserve a closet full of clothes, which led me to think about all the other aspects in my life that God has provided for that I really don’t deserve. I also kept thinking, “How could I ever have felt like I needed more?” (Not just of clothes…of anything, really.) And I marveled at the provision.
That week I also ate a bowl of ice cream and thanked God for letting it be invented, telling him that he really didn’t have to create chocolate ice cream but that I was SO GLAD he did.
So, yes, I said I was thankful for my closet of clothes and for chocolate ice cream, and my gratitude for them runs deep.
A while ago I worked through The Good and Beautiful God and one of the chapters had you create an ongoing list of blessings in your life. I wrote so many seemingly small things on that list, and at first I was embarrassed because of what I said before–that it seemed superficial or even materialistic. But the more I wrote down, the more it actually cultivated depth in my thanksgiving, in my sense of God’s love and care in my life, and in the joy and pleasure there is in this life God has given me.
In a world of consumerism and advertisements that tell you that you need more of x, y, and z, I love looking at my list of blessings…especially the “small” ones. It makes me feel like the world went from being on a grey scale to being filled with vibrant colors. The world seems more colorful, the air feels fresher, and I feel fuller.
I’d highly encourage you to start a list of blessings!
If you’re interested, here’s mine. I was going to also add why I was thankful for some of these things, but almost all of them were because I kept thinking, “OMG, what would my life be like without this? God didn’t have to make this, but I’m so glad he did!”
- chocolate ice cream with fruit
- a sibling who knows the Lord
- teal and orange
- white nectarines
- music that speaks in unexplainable ways
- prime rib
- Contigo water bottles
- time spent with kids who see the world as wonderful
- Papermate pens (I LOVE these…)
- crisp NorCal air
- God’s presence with me
- contact lenses
- financial freedom
- the promise that God will guide me
- a voice to sing with, to worship with, to express myself
- my multi-colored scarf
- the sense of smell, taste, touch, sight, hearing
- friends to connect with musically
- provision for tasks he asks/calls us to do
- unexpected ways he takes care of me
- Chinese food
- an amazing husband and an incredible relationship
- giving us a community who loves and serves though they may barely know us
- God’s sovereignty
- freedom in my job to become who I was made to be
- a child’s laugh
I’d love to hear some of your list of blessings…especially the ones that seem little and often get overlooked or taken for granted!